"I didn't think she would do it." Torregrossa hung his head.
"Chessica Fairway," he said. "Heiress to the Fairway Catering fortune. And not the good Fairway on West 74th and Broadway, I'm talking those weird imposters who are based out of New Jersey."
"Over the bridge?" I couldn't hide my disgust.
"Yeah, the name opened the door for her. She roped me into this. She told me it was just about food trucks. Sold me a good line. 'We'll open the first series of Greenwich Village food trucks and revolutionize haute-on-the-go.' She seduced me talking about fish sauce aoli and a fold-out pho table. Then things started getting rough. I was already sucked into it, you know? Stencils and graphics for the truck, a portable wok oven. These racks for the salami so it won't swing and hit you in the head when the truck corners."
"You said rough. What about Hollis Mulwray?"
"He's the key," said Torregrossa. "He is - was - a good friend. Fairway brought me on board to win him over, but I couldn't move him. You see, she wanted the dog paths. She was going to create some sort of food truck paradise. Take over the dog paths as 'recreation roads' and have Mulwray as her puppet. Once she had the dog paths she was going to turn the bark parks into food truck event zones for like birthdays and what have you."
"Wait," I said, remembering Mulwray's secret embrace with the blonde. "What does Chessica look like?"
"She's real pretty, sort of like a Britney Spears type, but early Britney Spears, before she had the kids and shaved her head. Don't be fooled by her. She's not that innocent."
That hug I saw must not have been so romantic. I've always been terrible at reading sexual cues. It's why I have all those stalking complaints.
"So with Mulwray out of the picture, how does she hope to get her hands on the dog paths?"
"I don't know," said Torregrossa. "Whoever takes over for him at the Department of Dog Paths. You figure it out. You're the reporter."
"Actually," I said, opening up Google on my iPhone, "I'm a DJ."
It turned out Mulwray's seat at the DoDP would go to his spouse. Evelyn! My lover and girlfriend was in danger! I couldn't wait around for a taxi. I grabbed a smart car and sped off towards Evelyn's Bedford Street Apartment. Traffic was so slow I abandoned my smart car halfway there and got out and speed-walked. I would have run but my jeans were way too skinny for that.
By the time I reached Evelyn it was too late. I saw Chessica, flanked by a couple of masked luchadores, leading Evelyn by the hand towards a food truck. Something bright red and brown with a splash of yellow text across the side. The font was illegible Spanish. Something about seafood churros.
"Stop!" I cried and tried to hit my emergency app. I only ended up bidding again on the Funny Farm poster. "Let her go!"
The food truck began to pull away. I could see Evelyn in the back window and Chessica beside her, talking sweetly in her ear. There was nothing I could do.
My phone beeped to alert me to a text. It was from Gaspard at Electro Company. He was texting me back about canceling my DJ set.
"U RESCHEDULE ON ME???? U THINK U HOT?? FORGET ABOUT ITZ VILLAGETOWN FUKR!!!!"
I sighed and walked towards Starbucks. Evelyn was on her own, and I was back to being a PI. Maybe next time, I'll open my office as a gallery of "found art"-my Fletch Lives poster would be the main attraction.
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I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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